Red, White and TWO!

Okay so I promised a post about the nursery, but before I get to that, I want to share about Taylor’s (impromptu) Red, White and Two party!

Red White and Two! |

First I should say this: I struggle with what to do with her birthday since it almost always falls on 4th of July weekend–family only party? just celebrate at the lake (which is what we did for her first birthday)? Party some other weekend with her friends (but let’s be honest–right now she is two and her friends are the kids of my friends)? Add on top of it that this year July 4th was the one year anniversary of my grandmother’s death, so there are a lot of emotions tied up with this weekend! Anyway, we decided not to be at the lake and had sort of decided to just have dinner at our house with my parents.  Well, my brother and sister-in-law happened to be passing through on their way home from the lake two days before Taylor’s birthday, so my mom and sister-in-law called to see if they could just bring the party to us… YES! Perfect idea.

Red White and Two! |

Shout out to Becky for coming up with the theme–and then I’m fairly certain they bought out everything in the local Target that was Red White and Blue! My tasks were the cake and the chalkboard–and I was instructed that they had the whole party in the box, outfits included.

My twin brother, Dad and husband were all good sports about helping decorate, grill the food, and even wearing their costumes!

Taylor LOVED the party.  I wasn’t sure she would get that it was for her, but she DEFINITELY did… and kept pointing to herself and saying: for Tay Tay? for Tay Tay? I’m pretty sure her favorite parts were the toys that make LOTS of noise (thanks Fam) and the cream cheese frosting.  Even a few days later she would see the cake and say: for Tay Tay??

Red White and Two! |

Red White and Two! |

I can’t believe she is two already! These last two years have flown by–and I’m sure the next few won’t be any slower.  I also feel like she woke up on her 2nd birthday and all of a sudden looks like a little kid instead of a baby or a toddler! I think I was prepared for that when new baby sister is born (friends have warned me that all of a sudden Taylor will feel like a GIANT), but I wasn’t quite ready yet!!

Red White and Two! |

She is at a SUPER fun age and we are loving every second (well maybe not EVERY one–she did get my penchant for temper tantrums) with her.  We are going to soak up this last month of being a family of 3 before we welcome baby sister!


Why I Breastfeed

(Fair warning… if you can’t tell by the title… this is about breastfeeding… if you don’t care to hear anything about it… quit reading! For the rest of you… carry on)

I want to start this post by saying that I love my decision to breastfeed.  But that I believe that it was just that, a decision.  I have friends who have chosen not to do it, friends who weren’t able to (for various reasons) and friends who believe it is the only way.  And like SO MANY THINGS in parenting… there is more than one right way to do things.    But for me, this was the right decision and I wanted to share a little bit of why and what has made it successful for me. Most of this post is what I wrote up for a friend who wanted more information about my breastfeeding decision.

I went into breastfeeding thinking… if it works great, if not, no big deal.  But I also know that having support from my mom and a few friends who had done it successfully was critical to me being able to persevere through the first few weeks (which are HARD).  But it is TOTALLY worth it.  The more I have learned about breastfeeding the more I love it.  And even though those first few weeks were hard and painful, now it isn’t painful at all, its SOOOO easy and its cheap too! So do what you want with this information, but here are my two cents on why it was worth it to me.

  1. It boosts my daughter’s immune system.  I just got a very contagious stomach bug that everyone in my friends group got (I think there were at least 10 of us who got it… kids included) but Taylor escaped despite being in very close contact with me the whole time… so it definitely helped insulate her from the sickness.  I also had a very high fever a few weeks after she was born, and it didn’t seem to bother her at all and she never got a fever.
  2. This article talks about it, but basically she (or he) communicates to your body what is ailing her and your body can create antibodies to fight whatever she has… even if you don’t have it. Y’all… that is some seriously cool stuff!
  3. There are a lot of things that breastfeeding has been linked to healthwise, but some of the important ones for me are a decreased chance of having severe allergies (my husband is very allergic to several things) and a reduced chance of childhood obesity.
  4. When she wakes up hungry in the middle of the night hungry, I don’t have to wait to heat up a bottle… I can just feed her, so she is happier and so am I because in about 10 minutes we are both happily back in bed.
  5. It’s cheap… basically you just eat like normal (a few more calories than normal… I had the major munchies for a while) and she is fed, which to me is much preferable to having to buy formula all the time.
  6. It will melt the pounds off of you! I basically did nothing but breastfeed and most of the weight has come off from pregnancy.  It might be partially good genes, but whatever it is… I’ll take it!

I am not going to lie, the first week was really hard.  My milk didn’t come in until about 5 days after she was born, and apparently she wasn’t getting enough colostrum (the yellow stuff that comes out before your milk really comes in), so I had to supplement in the hospital with some donor milk and one round of formula (which led to a lot of tears and panic in the hospital).  But after my milk came in, she got a LOT better at feeding and it wasn’t as painful.  I used this nipple cream and it made it not QUITE as miserable.  Probably after about the first 3-4 weeks it quit hurting all together.

I have heard some horror stories about people whose hospitals weren’t very supportive of breastfeeding, but mine really was.  They had lactation people I could call all the time while I was there, who were mostly helpful (although I did feel like each one told me a different way to do it and other things they did NOT like and contradicted each other occasionally… so like all things in parenting… take their advice with a grain of salt.) But the other helpful thing they had was a support group to go to after leaving the hospital where we could weigh the baby and ask any questions of the lactation consultant lady.  If your hospital has these… take advantage! I liked going because when you breastfeed it is really hard to tell how much your child is getting at each feeding, so being able to weigh her each week I could ensure that she was growing well.  I could also weigh her before and after a feeding to see how much she was getting.

And obviously she gets plenty of food… She is a nice healthy round baby! And I’m pretty sure that this is the only time in life when fat rolls are this cute!!!

Ballerina Taylor |

My husband wasn’t very gung ho about the breastfeeding thing at first, he wasn’t against it, just not as committed to making it work as I was. And I will say, it IS a little hard for the husband because they basically can’t help in the middle of the night. So he and I  made a deal, if it was time for her to feed (about every 3 hours) then I would get up… if it was anytime in between that… he would get up and take care of her.  But now that he has seen some of the benefits of it, he is a huge supporter. And after the first few weeks when she got the hang of it and my supply was in, he could easily give her a bottle of breastmilk and I would pump instead and he got to be more a part of it (some people say not to do this until your supply is firmly established, but my supply has been great and I never saw any ramifications from her having a bottle of breastmilk on occasion).

I learned a ton of information by going to the breastfeeding group at the hospital, but if you have any questions is a great place to go, it has a lot of info in one place.

Things I Know as a New(ish) Mom

Y’all… can you believe that it is NOVEMBER already?!! I can’t believe it! Oh and Miss Taylor turns four months old today (but I won’t have the recap until tomorrow!!)! I mean seriously, the older I get the faster the years go by! And this year has been filled with huge life changing things (ahem… parenthood). I have more big life changing news to share with you guys later that I can’t quite get my mind around how to write about right now.  But lets just suffice it to say that this will go down as one of the craziest years of my life.  But today I’m focusing on the things that four months in I know as a new mom.

  1. My daughter smiling and laughing is the greatest thing in the world. It doesn’t matter how many times she does it or what makes it happen, but when that smile lights up her face, everything in my world melts away.
  2. I don’t need as much sleep to operate as a previously believed.  Over the last four months the most I have slept at one time is 6 consecutive hours… and frequently it is less than 4 uninterrupted hours. But the world hasn’t come to an end and honestly… I feel great. I’m not tired all the time… and sure, I would love more than anything to sleep in until 10 on a Saturday morning, but really… I’m doing okay.
  3. My fridge looks packed full… until I throw out the expired food.  Maybe real grown-ups have mastered the art of not letting food/leftovers expire, but this is not something I’ve mastered… I’m pretty sure I’m not even in the intern stage of learning this skill, but I’ll keep trying.
  4. Breastfeeding was the best decision I’ve made.  I want to post more about this later, but after the first (REALLY ROUGH) month, its been fantastic. I am definitely in the camp of to each their own in how to feed their child, but for me this was an excellent choice and I am grateful for the support from friends, family and my hospital to make this possible.
  5. Body fluids are easier to deal with than I thought… I was pretty sure I wouldn’t be very good at dealing with these since I have a super sensitive gag reflex, but I find myself easily wiping snot away from my daughter’s nose and I only change my shirt if she spit up A LOT.  And that’s what we call very disgusting Badges of Honor.  (or rather… I don’t have enough clothes for that or patience to do that much laundry…)
  6. The whole pregnancy process, birth and the first year of a child’s life is truly incredible. It is unbelievable to watch a child go from nonexistence to coming into this world and then watching her learn and grow and change on  daily basis. I am frequently amazed at how much she changes and learns as her dexterity increases, she is more alert, she is more personable and she gains new skills.
  7.  Time is FLYING. It honestly feels like yesterday that we brought her home from the hospital and even though I am amazed at how much she has changed, I cannot believe that this much time has gone by!
  8. Little babies=lots of laundry… for me and her! (see number 5 about body fluids) Just because they are little does not mean they have smaller amounts of laundry… between burp cloths, a few outfits a day, and the spit up on my clothes, I do a LOT of laundry.
  9. You think your child is the cutest thing. Ever. I now understand why first children receive so much attention. There are tons of people who are FASCINATED by everything she does…”oh she cooed!”, “look at her chewing on her hands… that’s precious!!” etc.  I actually sent my husband a picture the first time she accidentally grasped a toy.   And honestly? I’m not likely to stop any time soon. I’m so fascinated by the learning process and watching her gain new skills and I’m going to enjoy this phase of life where I have nothing to do but watch her grow.
  10. I wouldn’t change any of these things for the world.  I wouldn’t give back the sleep… or the early evenings… or the massive mountains of laundry due to all.the.bodily.fluids.  I don’t even want time to speed up or for her to move to the next stage. I am trying so so hard to enjoy every phase and spending quality time with my daughter.  It is so tempting to keep looking forward to the next milestone… when will she roll over, crawl, walk, have teeth, etc.  But I know that she will never be in these stages again and I’m so grateful to get to experience each one with her.

So here’s to taking the moments to enjoy all the ups and downs of parenthood… and hoping time will slow down just a bit so I can enjoy each moment.